Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood Get Their Opportunity


Next man up.  One of the most overused sports clichés around.  It’s like a refrain that coaches teach players to say when unfortunate circumstances strike a team.  On the other hand, sometimes it’s perfect.

Such as the time starting cornerback Walter Thurmond went down in the sixth game of the 2011 season, to be replaced by a little known rookie named Richard Sherman.  Pfft.  Whatever happened to that guy? 

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Or, when veteran team leader Lawyer Milloy decided to walk away from the game, the Seahawks gave second year player Kam Chancellor a shot to be the starting strong safety.  How has that worked out again?

So, sometimes the phrase fits.  And right about now the Seahawks could use it.

Yesterday, the Seahawks shockingly dealt wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets.  The internet exploded.  Hearts were crushed.  But if any players on the Seahawks roster were smiling, I could venture a guess as to who they were.

Rookies Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood.

With Harvin gone, the offense is set to get back to basics.  Run the ball and throw it off of play action.  Then do it again.  And again.  No more jet sweeps, bubble screens or other cute ideas.  Just run until you catch the defense sleeping, and throw a pass off of a play fake.  It was a strategy that got them a victory in the Super Bowl last season.  To employ that effectively though, your receivers need to be good route runners with solid hands, which may have been Harvin’s weakest attributes.

Richardson is a speed demon.  He officially clocked a 4.40 40 yard dash at the combine, though he told reporters he ran a 4.28 during training.  Since he arrived in Seattle though, he has been lauded for his route running, something that young receivers often struggle with coming out of college.

In an interview with 710 ESPN’s Danny, Dave and Moore a few weeks ago, he said, “I think the biggest thing is transitioning from being the guy.  In college, I wasn’t put in a position where I had to wait.”

“In college, I wasn’t put in a position where I had to wait.”-Paul Richardson

He may not have to wait much longer.

Kevin Norwood is a different story.  A fourth round draft pick in this year’s draft, at 6’2”, he is the tallest receiver on the Seahawks roster.  Billed as a physical player with fantastic hands, he has yet to get on the field for a single snap this season.  But, it does say something about Pete Carroll’s belief in the young man that he was kept on the roster while being unable to play after having a bone spur removed in his foot.  Some might say, “Of course they kept him on the roster, he was a fourth round draft pick.”  Ahem.  E.J. Wilson, anyone?  Kris Durham?  The Seahawks are not afraid to cut ties.

These two receivers are not going to land a starting job with the departure of Percy Harvin.  Reliable receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have those locked down.  But, they should get more opportunities.  And who knows?  A year from now we could be saying, “You remember when he got his chance…”

The rest is up to them.